I am Dr. Joey. Thanks me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 15 years of experience. I look forward to working with you.
As a start when dealing with an itchy dog, I need to confirm you are using effective monthly flea control year round, even in the colder parts of the year. The last thing we want is to have fleas on top of everything else. If not, then ask your vet what products are working best in your area.
Second, yes, you may use an over-the-counter antihistamine and the top choice is diphenhydramine. If she was my patient I would recommend give one of the 25-mg tablets/capsules every 12 hours. Antihistamines only help about 25-30% with the itching, whereas a corticosteroid (such as prednisolone) would help about 70%.
The other two non-prescription additions you can do is
1)Bath in a good antibacterial shampoo such as a dandruff shampoo with the active ingredient selenium sulfide every 7 days. When you bathe, lather and let stand in contact with skin -10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly
2)Start on a fish oil supplement (this is anti-inflammatory over about 4-6 weeks)
However, if she has skin lesions/sores/scabs then she probably has a secondary infection and will require a prescription medication to clear this beyond an anti-itch medication. If you want to discuss the top few allergies (food allergy, atopic dermatitis, flea allergy), let me know.
(I assume you and your vet have discussed allergies and developed a plan of action to try to discover the underlying allergy issue).
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